You may ask yourself, what are the 3 most widely used Languages in 2016 – remember that your own language is the most Important. The three most important languages in 2016 are English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. English is spoken by 400 million people and Mandarin Chinese is spoken by 850 million people. English has become the language of computers, of opportunity, future mobility and increased economic earings, and the language of Global Problem Solving. The Chinese government has mandated that elementary school children learn English or the directors will suffer severe consequences. Therefore, the country with the most English speaking people is….China – can you believe that?
As a Spanish Language Major in college, I never thought that China would have the largest percentage of English speaking people. I studied Spanish in secondary school because my parents felt it was better to assimilate into the English speaking population and not to suffer punishment in school in Colorado because I understood Spanish.
What a tragedy to lose a language but the United States has done a fantastic job of eliminating world languages from it’s continent. But on the positive side is there seems to be a Renaissance and interest of learning one’s Mother tongue and culture. In the United States, 20% of the population is now Bilingual with the majority of that being Spanish speakers. In Europe approximately 50% of it’s citizens speak at least 2 languages and 10% speak 3 languages. It is not uncommon for Europeans to speak 5 languages – their advantage is that European countries are in close proximity to each other and it is possible to hear the spoken language more easily.
There are 6,500 spoken languages in 2016 and whatever the world’s linguistic diversity at the present, it is steadily declining, as local forms of speech advance. When a language ceases to be learned by young children, its days are clearly numbered, and we can predict with near certainty that it will not survive the death of the current native speakers. The situation in North America is typical. Of about 165 indigenous languages, only eight are spoken by as many as 10,000 people. About 75 are spoken only by a handful of older people, and can be assumed to be on their way to extinction. While we might think this is an unusual fact about North America, due to the overwhelming pressure of European settlement over the past 500 years, it is actually close to the norm.
So shouldn’t we all be willing to learn another language—-Definitely. When learning a language, one also learns the culture of the people and it’s people. In this Global World, communication is the key to our survival – time to get your language on friends.